C-Section Must Haves | Free Resources On C-Section Recovery

Recovering from a caesarean delivery takes time and varies from person to person. By taking care of your body, you can safely and gradually get back to functional movement and beyond.

From back pain after a c-section, and long-term back pain after a c-section to diastasis recti and post c-section mental health to when to exercise after a c-section (including a post c-section exercise plan). Our resources section also includes content on healing your pelvic floor and core, other tips for c-section recovery.

This collection of free resources will cover all your c-section questions and leave you feeling more confident about taking control of your own recovery journey.

What is ceasarean surgery?

A caesarean surgery, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to deliver a new baby through incisions made through abdomen and uterus. These c-section incisions are typically done when a vaginal birth would put the mother or the baby's health at risk or when a vaginal delivery is not possible or advisable. Caesarean surgeries can be planned in advance (elective) or done in an emergency situation. They are considered major surgeries and carry some risks, including infection, bleeding, and blood clots. However, they can also be life-saving for both mother and baby in certain situations. 

Will I have a c-section?

There’s a lot that goes into determining the likelihood your baby (or babies) will be born via caesarean surgery. There has been a big drive to lower the rates of caesarean sections in many Western countries, and to raise the rates (by way of increasing access to quality medical care) in modernising countries around the globe. 

From individual-to-individual, the factors determining chances of caesarean delivery can fall under a few categories:

  • Health risk

  • Hospital vs home or birth centre birth

  • Midwife vs Obstetrician care 

  • Independent community midwife vs hospital-based midwife

  • VBAC or multiples pregnancy

  • Insurance type

  • Level of prenatal care

  • Emergency circumstance

  • Care provider preference

  • Maternal preference

Some of these factors are things to prepare for, but many aren’t down to preference and choice. Caesarean births are common and necessary in several circumstances. There is no one “right” way to bring a baby into the world, that’s for sure. 


Honestly, the evidence is mixed on this issue. 

There is no way to bring your chances down to zero, and there’s good reason for that. Caesarean surgery whilst a major abdominal surgery is a literal life-saver for many. When it comes to having a c-section for safety, it is wonderful that it exists and is constantly getting safer. 

In terms of lowering your chances of having a caesarean, there is good evidence to suggest that having a trained support person — like a doula — at your birth makes a big difference. It is still your birth and many things can happen in it, so they can’t guarantee a reduction in likelihood you will give birth vaginally, but they can help you advocate for yourself in any birth scenario. 

Roughly 26% of births in the UK are via cesarean. That’s roughly the average for a European country. The cesarean section rate is 33% in the United States and Australia. There are countries where that rate is significantly higher or significantly lower. 

Rates may vary depending on the specific hospital, region, or demographic group. According to a study published in the journal BMJ Open in 2020, black and Asian women in the UK were more likely to have a cesarean delivery than white women. While the overall caesarean rate was 26.2%, but the rates were higher for certain groups:

  1. Black women had the highest caesarean rate at 32.8%.

  2. Asian women had the second highest rate at 27.5%.

  3. White women had the lowest rate at 24.4%.

The same is true in the US. According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in 2020, the overall rate of caesarean delivery in the US was 31.7% in 2019, but the rates were higher for certain groups:

  1. Non-Hispanic black women had the highest caesarean rate at 34.1%.

  2. Non-Hispanic white women had a caesarean rate of 31.6%.

  3. Hispanic women had a caesarean rate of 31.2%.

  4. Asian or Pacific Islander women had the lowest caesarean rate at 27.3%

Recovering from a caesarean delivery takes time and varies from person to person. This is due to factors such as: the type of delivery, the woman’s overall health, and whether there were any complications during or after the surgery. 

Some common aspects of healing from a c-section:

  1. Pain: It is common to experience some pain and discomfort after a cesarean birth. This is often managed with pain medications prescribed by your doctor or midwife.

  2. Activity: Most mums are encouraged to rest and limit their physical activity for the first few weeks after a c-section. However, it is important to get up and move around as soon as possible to prevent high blood pressure, blood clots and speed up recovery.

  3. Incision care: The incision site will need to be kept clean and dry to prevent infection. Your care provider will provide instructions on how to care for the incision site. 

  4. Breastfeeding: You can still breastfeed your baby after a caesarean if you choose, but you may need to try different positions to find one that is comfortable and does not put pressure on your incision.

  5. Emotional recovery: Some mums experience a range of emotions after a c-section like sadness, disappointment, or anxiety. This can happen while feeling grateful for having access to this sort of care or even electing to have a planned c-section. All birth recovery has emotional ups and downs. It’s okay to seek support if you’re having a hard time coping with your caesarean recovery or any other healing in postpartum.

Caesareans are common and largely safe, but they are still major surgeries. From the recovery room to home life post childbirth the following are some basic guidelines for taking care of yourself after a c-section birth.

Do’s after a cesarean:

  1. Follow the instructions from your health care provider around pain relief, caring for your incision and managing discomfort. If there are signs that something is off, reach out to them.

  2. Rest as much as possible in the first few weeks, but balance that with moderate activity. Moving helps with overall healing and preventing blood clots.

  3. Drink plenty of water or other hydrating liquids like bone broth or coconut water. 

  4. Eat a healthy diet with plenty of protein, iron, and other nutrients to support healing.

Don’ts after a caesarean:


  1. Lift anything heavier than your baby, as this can put strain on your incision and slow down your recovery.
  2. Have sex or insert anything into your vagina until you & your health care provider feel it’s okay and really want to.
  3. Take baths or swim for several weeks. Soaking in water can increase the risk of infection.
  4. Drive until you are able to move around without discomfort and can react quickly if needed.
  5. Neglect your emotional and mental health! Seek support from loved ones and professionals as soon as you feel you need it.

After giving birth via caesarean section, it is important to take proper care of your body while resuming exercise. Here are some important things for new mothers to consider in your postpartum period:

  1. Time is your friend: Typically, you will need to wait 6-8 weeks after your caesarean surgery to resume harder physical activities. You can walk as soon as you are able and move around as much as feels right. However, more extensive postpartum exercise should wait till after you’ve had your follow-up appointment at 6 weeks. 

  2. Start slowly: Even if you were in good shape before your pregnancy, you need to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your exercise routine. Your body has been through a major surgery, and it needs time to heal.

  3. Focus on your core and alignment: After a C-section, your core muscles — mainly your abdominal muscles, but also possibly your back and pelvic floor muscles, too — will be weaker. It is important to focus on exercises that strengthen your core muscles, including your pelvic floor, to prevent injury. Learn more about pelvic floor exercises after caesarean. 

  4. Listen to your body: It is important to listen to your body and stop exercising if you feel any c-section pain, discomfort, or fatigue. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s best to stop and talk to your doctor

Remember that everyone’s recovery after a C-section is different, so it’s important to take things at your own pace and not compare yourself to others. By taking care of your body, you can safely and gradually get back to functional movement and beyond. 

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